Addressing the gathering after the commemorative mass, bishop Artemije said that it would have been "a great consolation for the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija if the perpetrators of this terrorist attack were found and prosecuted". Also, the bishop added, "it would be a great consolation for the Serbs, if these victims were the last". "Unfortunately, they were not!" Bishop Artemije stressed that, despite everything, "freedom will come and Serbs will once again be able to breathe freely, move, and live in their ancestral lands. We've been waiting for that days for three years now, but unfortunately, it is still only a hope on the horizon".
After the commemorative mass, the gathered citizens held a peaceful protest walk from the monastery to the center of Gracanica, protesting against the failure of the international community to provide security for the Serbs in Kosovo, three years after its arrival in the province. Before the commemorative mass, delegations of the SPOT and the chief of the coalition Return, Rada Trajkovic, on behalf of the government of Serbia, laid wreaths on the spot where the buss was blown up.
A year after the bomb attack on the bus, international police and judicial authorities in the Province haven't succeeded in finding the perpetrators. All four ethnic Albanians arrested as suspects linked with the attack were released from custody and are still free.
Special units of the British Army, SAS, participated in the arrest of the primary suspect, Florim Ejupi, and another three ethnic Albanians, and the western intelligence sources claimed that the whole arrest operation went on for 27 hours. Because of the tragedy, which took place on February 16 last year, FR Yugoslavia proclaimed official mourning for two days. Serbs from Kosovo organized protests after the attack and blocked roads from Pristina to Vranje and Skopje. One ethnic Serb died during the blockade in Lapje Selo, near Pristina.
Two months after the arrest, Florim Ejupi escaped from the prison in the American base Bondsteel near Urosevac. UNMiK extended custody for the remaining three suspects (Cel Gashi and Jusuf Veliju were members of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC)) several times, as the prosecutor failed to indict them. The two of them and Avdi Behluli were arrested by the international police forces on March 23.
The decision of the International Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kosovo to release all three suspects due to lack of evidence, provoked disappointment among the officials of the international missions in Kosovo, because there was no evidence that anyone else was implicated in the crime, according to the spokesperson of the UNMiK, Susan Manuel. She, however, said that the court was not given any concrete evidence that the suspects laid the bomb that was used to blow up the bus.
The bomb, weighing 100kg, exploded under one of seven "Nis Ekspres" buses, which, escorted by the armored troop carrier of the international forces traveled between Nis, Gracanica and Strpce. Representatives of the authorities in Belgrade also did not hide their disappointment. Chief of the judiciary division in the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija Vladimir Bozovic said that the authorities in Belgrade "had for several months demanded to be allowed to participate in the investigation of the crime".
Officials in Belgrade expressed the hope that the then chief of UNMiK, Hans Haekkerup, would use his prerogatives and annul the decision of the court, which, according to them, "had nothing to do with reality". Belgrade lawyers stated that the investigation of the bomb attack was conducted by KFOR, which, according to them, was unprecedented in the history of judicial practice.
Nekic "is barricaded in his house, cannot leave it even to buy food, seek medical assistance, or drink a cup of coffee in a nearby café," Nowicki emphasizes. He poses several questions for the residents of Prizren. Why does Nekic live that way? Do you, residents of Prizren, believe that a 73-years-old man cannot be allowed to live a normal life in your city, if he is not an ethnic Albanian? The Kosovo Ombudsman openly criticized young people, attending a nearby medical vocational school who engage in "a daily ritual" of throwing stones over the wall of Nekic's courtyard, hoping that they would hurt him or damage his home.
Ivanovic criticized the international community, which since its arrival in Kosovo, two and a half years ago has invested funds sufficient for the construction of 56 houses for the return of Serbs, while at the same time it reconstructed or built from scratch 35,000 homes for ethnic Albanians.
"The international community has admitted that that was a mistake and injustice inflicted on Serbs, but that admission cannot help our compatriots, who are still seeking roof above their heads," Ivanovic concluded.